Beer and probiotic lovers unite!
Researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS)
have successfully made a beer that contains a probiotic strain called Lactobacillus paracasei L26. This strain can be found in human intestines, and is capable of inhibiting pathogens and viruses like Salmonella, as well as regulating the immune system.
Today's commercial and craft beers don't usually contain probiotics because of hops. When making beer, hops are added to give the beverage its flavor and provide bitterness to balance the sugar in the wort, plus it preserves the beer. The process created hop acids which consequently gave probiotics a hard time to thrive in that environment, limiting their growth and survival.
But with thorough study, the researchers was able to make a sour-tasting beer that can support L.paracasei L26! As graduate student Chan Mei Zhi Alcine explains, “For this beer, we used a lactic acid bacterium as a probiotic microorganism. It will utilise sugars present in the wort to produce sour-tasting lactic acid, resulting in a beer with sharp and tart flavors. The final product, which takes around a month to brew, has an alcohol content of about 3.5 percent.”
A daily consumer of dairy-based probiotic beverages herself, choosing a topic for her final-year project was easy. “The health benefits of probiotics are well known. While good bacteria are often present in food that have been fermented, there are currently no beers in the market that contain probiotics." However, the scientific community's still uncertain on whether or not probiotics is truly healthy for humans.
When taken orally, there is a greater risk of viable bacteria passing from the gastrointestinal tract to the internal organs compared to when taken systemically. And some people with certain health problems like short bowel syndrome, central venous catheters, and cardiac valve disease have a higher risk than healthy people.
Nonetheless, the beer game is strong with this one. The researchers even filed a patent for the recipe for brewing the probiotic beer. Associate Professor Liu Shao Quan from the NUS is optimistic that the sour beer would be a hit commercially. “In recent years, consumption of craft or specialty beers has gained popularity too," he said. "I am confident that the probiotic gut-friendly beer will be well-received by beer drinkers, as they can now enjoy their beers and be healthy.”
Combine this with beer yoga, and you are set for life.